Q&A How Do I Live in Limbo With an Ambivalent Unfaithful Spouse?

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D-day was a year ago. My wife has had one months-long emotional online affair (involving gaming, email, texting, phone calls and face-timing). She continued this betrayal for another couple of months after I discovered it. She continues to maintain contact as "just friends", saying "we hardly contact each other anymore." She also began friending and messaging ex-boyfriends on Facebook shortly after my discovery of the first affair. She has refused to get counseling, refused pastoral care, refused to see her doctor for anti-depressant and hormone treatment follow up that began last September (she hasn't seen her dr since). She got her own bank account, separate credit card, changed her phone number and service to get off our family plan and moved out 5 weeks ago when I insisted she break all contact with marital threats and agree to seek counseling or move out. We have been married 23 yrs this August. We have 12 and 10 year old sons. She has shown no remorse and no signs of seeking help. She says she doesn't want a divorce, but doesn't want to go back to the marriage we had. She frequently brings up things from early in our marriage that upset her but gets mad if I address any infidelity saying, "that's all over and it was just symptoms of deeper problems in our marriage over the years." To this day, I have no idea what she wants out of this. Maybe she doesn't either. But I am struggling horribly to walk out my daily life and how it relates to her (we see each other several times a week in connection with our sons and she seems as cold and contemptuous toward me as ever). I don't know how I am supposed to navigate her cold ambivalence, and I find myself swinging from extreme despair and desperation to extreme anger and contempt of my own. I can't live like this!



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Thank you for this advice. To clarify, our marriage did have some significant deficits before any affair started. My wife said she felt shut down to me for at least a year before, and was also having difficulty with her career position and onset of menopause, so it was the "perfect storm". Since I submitted this question, I have been seeing a marriage and family therapist (my wife has not come with me yet but is warming to the idea, it seems). The therapist recommended working on the issues in the marriage first, and I'm grateful that you concur. She recently admitted that she has done "some crappy things" to me and that she knows our past issues don't justify her actions. I am hopeful that progress will continue, even though this snail's pace is brutal. Thank you both for the insight and encouragement!

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